Saturday, April 17 2004 @ 12:01 AM EDT Contributed by: AIA
Andrea Pozzo has given a most beautiful expression, in a painting on the ceiling of Sant'Ignazio in Rome, to the unity of the pilgrim Church and the Church of heaven. On the ceiling of the central nave, a great Baroque architecture opens out onto an infinite heaven, St. Ignatius ascends on clouds to the Holy Trinity. Other saints of the Society of Jesus join him; on all sides, angels ascend and descend, creating the link here to the allegorical representations of the four continents, which strive toward this heavenly fellowship and make their way toward it. While the Church of heaven descends, the pigrim Church ascends to her native land; or rather, both make their way to meet one another, "grow together to form the one Church" to which all her members belong "to various extents and in various ways" whether they are pilgrims on earth or "have departed from this life and are being purified or are already glorified in the vision of God."
Christoph Schonborn, From Death to Life: The Christian Journey (Ignatius Press, 1995, 66-67).
Friday, April 16 2004 @ 12:01 AM EDT Contributed by: AIA
If you were to strip worship of all impurities, what would remain? My guess is this: a song. Not a simple song. It would contain many modalities: praise to God, thanksgiving, intercession, and confession -- with a poetic recounting of salvation history thrown in for good measure. But one thing is certain: Surely this song would soar beyond the limitations of speech and wing toward heaven, a pure communication between the faithful and all that is holy. . . .
If you read the New Testament with an eye out (or ear open) for hymns, you will discover that it is filled with song. Since the basic elements of early Christian worship are adapted from established and familiar Jewish liturgical patterns, the most direct influence, udnerstandably enough, is the Hebrew scriptures, especially the Psalms. This rich literature, as well as hymnic elements in the Wisdom tradition, was then freely adapted to serve both developing Christian practice (baptismal hymns, for instance) and theology (especially in the Christological hymns and professions of faith). . . .
F. Forrester Church and Terrence J. Mulry, eds., The Macmillan Book of Earliest Christian Hymns (Macmillan Publishing Company, 1988, ix, 3).
Thursday, April 15 2004 @ 12:35 AM EDT Contributed by: AIA
The following describes how evenings are spent in Amish households. We might think the Amish are missing the wonders of our modern technology, but how much stronger would our family ties, our friendships, and our faith be if we copied the Amish way?
There are no dull evenings when our family is together. We don't have television or radio, but we always enjoy our evenings just the same. Being brought up without them, you just don't think about it, I guess. When we have company in the evening, the hours really speed up. During the winter, the Caroom board is often in use, as are Chinese checkers and Aggravation. Aggravation is our main game, but the menfolk and boys enjoy Caroom.
When the children were younger, my evenings were spent in front of my [foot pedal driven] Singer sewing machine. The sewing machine would be singing while everyone else was in their peaceful sleep. My mind was clear to think then. I often think of those bygone years and how a lot of evenings were spent keeping the clothes sewn for the children. Now our children have homes and children of their own. I still have two daughters who live at home. What would I do without them, especially during those cold winter months? One winter, when all of our girls except Leah were unmarried and living at home, we quilted five quilts plus several bed comforters. In the evenings, the five daughters and I wouild quilt till late. We were glad when all was completed. That's a winter I'll never forget.
Ben mostly enjoyed reading on those cold winter evenings. My daughter Lovina is also an avid reader. Otherwise, we might spend an evening washing dishes, singing songs, or yodeling. Thinking back, it was nice to have our eight children at home and in our care. Today, our married children and their families still come often for supper and to spend the evening. They know that there is always a welcome sign on our door. Life would seem dull without the children and their families.
Elizabeth Coblentz with Kevin Williams, The Amish Cook: Recollections and Recipes from an Old Order Amish Family(Ten Speed Press, 2002, 103).
Wednesday, April 14 2004 @ 12:01 AM EDT Contributed by: AIA
[From a discussion between the human, Ransom, and the Lady, the "Eve" of the world of C. S. Lewis's Perelandra. Ransom is explaining that while God made good (the Incarnation) to come out of bad (the Fall), that did not justify the Fall or make it right. Randsom is attempting to persuade the Lady not to disobey God as she is being tempted by the Devil in the character of Weston.]
"Of course good came of it. Is Maleldil [God in Perelandra] a beast that we can stop His path, or a leaf that we can twist His shape? Whatever you do, He will make good of it. But not the good He had prepared for you if you had obeyed Him. That is lost forever. The first King and first Mother of our world did the forbidden thing; and He brought good of it in the end. But what they did was not good; and what they lost we have not seen. And there were some to whom no good came nor ever will come." He [Ransom] turned to the body of Weston [the Devil]. "You," he said, "tell her all. What good came to you? Do you rejoice that Maleldil became a man? Tell her of your joys, and of what profit you had when you made Maleldil and death acquainted."
C. S. Lewis, Perelandra (Simon & Schuster, 1996 edition, 121).
Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 12:01 AM EDT Contributed by: AIA
Deus ex machina -- Dramatic device particularly associated with the Greek dramatist Euripedes (c. 484-406 BC). Literally the Latin for "a god from the machine," the phrase derives from the practice in Greek drama whereby a "god" was lowered to the stage by a crane to rescue the hero or sort out the plot. This was condemned by Aristotle for unnaturalness. In modern usage, the term refers to any unmotivated, implausible trick used to resolve problems in the plot.
Jenniefer Bothamley, Dictionary of Theories (Visible Ink, 2002).
Monday, April 12 2004 @ 12:11 AM EDT Contributed by: AIA
The Law contained only a shadow of the good things to come; it did not express their full reality (Heb. 10:1). In the tent erected by Moses the people served a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary, as we read in the letter to the Hebews (8:5). This tent consisted of an outer part known as the Holy Place, which represents our present life on earth, and an inner sanctuary called the Holy of Holies, which was a figure or symbol of heaven, where our Lord Jesus Christ has gone before us to sit at the right hand of the Father. The Jewish High Priest was only permitted to enter the Holy of Holies once a year. He could not remain there because he was only a mortal man, any more than we, as mere mortals, had acess to heaven before our Lord Jesus Christ made it possible for us.
But now Jesus has entered the true Holy of Holies by ascending to heaven. He entered first on our behalf as our eternal High Priest, and has opened the way for us to follow him. He gives us right of entry by giving us a share in his own death and resurrection. Jesus our brother submitted to the law of death for our sake, and triumphed over that law by rising from the dead. He can never die again, nor can he be touched by suffering or corruption, and he has promisted that we too shall be as he is.
Theodore of Mopsuestia (350-392+) as quoted by Anne Field, From Darkness to LIght: What It Meant to Become a Christian in the Early Church (Servant Books, 1978, 101-102).
Sunday, April 11 2004 @ 12:01 AM EDT Contributed by: AIA
Born just after Christianity had been legalized in the Roman Empire, and just after the first great ecumenical council in Nicea had affirmed the deity of Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity, Macrina (AD 327-379), with her three brothers, Gregory, Peter, and Basil, proved to be instrumental in training men and women in the Church who had dedicated their lives to knowing, understanding, preaching, teaching and serving the Lord Jesus Christ. Her brothers became bishops and all four were eventually recognized as saints by the united Church (Eastern and Roman). On her deathbed she continued to minister to those around her, including her brother, Gregory, who recorded her last prayer, part of which is presented here:
Thou, O Lord, hast freed us from the fear of death. Thou hast made the end of this life the beginning to us of true life. Thou for a season rest our bodies in sleep and wake them again. Thou givest our body, which Thou has fashioned with Thy hands, to the earth to keep in safety. One day Thou will take again what Thou hast given, transfiguring with immortality and gracing our mortal remains. Thou hast saved us from the curse and from sin, having become both for our sake.
Thou hast shown us the way of resurreciton, having broken the gates of hell, and how to overcome him who had the power of death -- the Devil. Thou hast given a sign to those that fear Thee in the symbol of the Holy Cross, to destroy the adversary and save our life. O God eternal to whom I have been attached from my mother's womb, whom my soul has loved with all its strength, to whom I have dedicated both my flesh and my soul from my youth up until now -- do Thou give me an angel of light to conduct me to the place of refreshment, where is the water of rest, in the bosom of the holy Father.
Quoted by Edith Deen, Great Women of the Christian Faith (Barbour and Company, Inc., 1959, 13).
Friday, April 09 2004 @ 12:01 AM EDT Contributed by: AIA
It is usual to speak in a playfully apologetic tone about one's adult enjoyment of what are called "children's books." I think the convention a silly one. No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally (and often far more) worth reading at the age of fifty -- except, of course, books of information. The only imaginative works we ought to grow out of are those which it would have been better not to have read at all. A mature palate will probably not much care for creme de menthe: but it ought still to enjoy bread and butter and honey.
C. S. Lewis, "On Stories" in Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories (Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1966, 15).
Thursday, April 08 2004 @ 12:35 AM EDT Contributed by: AIA
[Martin Luther] was uneasy about the theological use of the word fellowship (Gemeinschaft). Even in translating 1 Cor. 10:16 he hesitated to use it. In his Large Confession of the Lord's Supper (1528) he traced the misunderstanding of his opponents partially to this word. "It is not the genuinely German equivalent as I would like to have it, for to have fellowship is ordinarily understood as meaning to have something to do with a person. Here (1 Cor. 10:16), however, it means, as I have explained earlier, many using, enjoying, or having part in a common thing. I have had to translate 'fellowship' because I simply could not find a better word!" He is willing to use the expression "fellowship" of the Lord's Supper only if it is not taken according to the usage of the day, which understood it as "to have something to do with a person." This is not the meaning of the word koinonia in 1 Cor. 10:16, for there it means that many use, enjoy, or have part in a common thing.
This distinction shows what Luther considered vital. What links those who partake of the Lord's Supper is not that they have something to do with one another, their human relationship with each other, but that which they share together. This fellowship not only embraces still another ingredient besides the human participants, but this other ingredient is not even produced by an act of man. It not only antedates the efforts of men, but fellowship (koinonia) means that this is the very element which unites the multitude. What Luther meant is, then, diametrically opposed to what Schleiermacher meant by fellowship when he spoke of the church. For Schleiermacher fellowship "is created by the voluntary actions of men." This is precisely what Luther rejected when he denied that fellowship means "to have something to do with a person."
Werner Elert, Eucharistic And Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries (Concordia, 1996, 4-5).
The Lord's Servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will give them a change of heart leading to a knowledge of the truth
II Timothy 2:24-26